Scouting Berkeley: Ohmega Salvage

By Kim Weisberg:

Ohmega Salvage is one of those places I’ve wanted to check out for a while. I must have driven past it a hundred times, but have never justĀ stopped the car to explore this quirky world of reclaimed riches. Until this past Saturday that is, when an antiques-loving friend and I decided to put on our explorer hats, wander around and take photographs (see slideshow, above).

Ohmega Salvage says it buys and sells “usual and unusual building materials”, but that description barely scratches the surface of the treasures (and oddities) you find here.

The salvage yard stretches across both sides of San Pablo; from what I gleaned, the higher end pieces are on the western side of the street. There we found giant stone sculptures, matching lavender bathroom sets, stunning chandeliers, and a very … erm … interesting fountain. On the more eclectic, eastern side of the street, we found everything from skeleton keys to multi-colored toilets (with tadpoles swimming around inside), window-weights, endless piles of tile, and myriad items we couldn’t identify.

Our mission in visiting the salvage yard was purely investigative, and while we were tempted by sconces and old Coke bottles, we didn’t take anything home with us.

Prices seemed a bit high to me — I lovedĀ this emerald doorknob, but $94.50? Eep! I also sadly could not justify $6,000 for aĀ stone Buddha, or even $8.12 for an old skeleton key, no matter how good it felt in my hand.

Other customers didn’t seem phased by the prices, however, and some cursory online research leads me to believe that these prices are fair. It seems that haggling, while not encouraged, is accepted, but we stayed strong and resisted buying frivolous items.

Not ready to buy? Ohmega also offers rentals to locals — find more informationĀ here. Their website also includes a peek intoĀ how they rescue some of these treasures, andĀ photos of salvaged pieces in use in customers’ homes.